32 Summarizing

Similar to a paraphrase, a summary is also a restatement of a text or passage in your own words. However, the summary only restates the main points of a text, and is therefore much shorter than the original. You can summarize a passage or even a whole article or book in just a few sentences. ​

Key Takeaways


  • to avoid too many quotes
  • to present the ideas of others without interrupting your own writing style
  • when you do not need to go into as much detail


Quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing: comparing all three 

Here you can see all three ways of referring to a source in one place for comparison in APA style format.  All three must include a citation. ​If you don’t include citations, you are committing an act of plagiarism.

Original Text ​

Why did the baby boom happen? A likely explanation is that during those 20 years, Canadians knew they could afford large families. The postwar economy was robust, the future seemed full of promise, and young couples wanted to share that bright future with a big family. A second reason was the high immigration levels that prevailed during the 1950s.​

Quote: EXACT words​, quotation marks

According to Foot and Stoffman (1996), one reason for the baby boom was “the high immigration levels that prevailed during the 1950s” (p.  20).​


Paraphrase: YOUR OWN words AND new structure, DETAILED, about the same length​

Foot and Stoffman (1996) theorize that there were two main reasons behind the baby boom, namely immigration that remained consistently high and a healthy economy that  made young Canadians feel optimistic and gave them the confidence that they would have the means to support the large family they desired.​


Summary: YOUR OWN words, MAIN POINTS only, short​

According to Foot and Stoffman (1996) the baby boom was due to high immigration levels and  healthy economic conditions.​



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